Getting started on any writing project can be tough, but it can be especially difficult if you're not sure what direction to take your piece in. That's where having a format can be really helpful; it can give you a general idea of what the finished product should look like, as well as provide some structure for your writing. If you're looking for a little guidance, here's a statement of purpose (or statement of interest) format to help you get started.

Wondering how long your statement of purpose should be, or the difference between a statement of purpose for graduate school (graduate school statement) and a Ph.D. statement of purpose? Here are a few things to keep in mind when writing your statement of purpose or your admission essay.

Our personal statement editing service will fix your writing issues and leave you more confident in your application and help you through the admission process.

If you're struggling to figure out where to start with your statement of purpose, don't worry – we've got you covered. In this quick guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know to write a strong statement of purpose. So instead of staring at a blank screen, you can start writing your first successful draft.

What is a statement of purpose?

Statement of purpose (SOP), also known as a statement of intent, is one of the most important aspects of your application when applying to graduate schools or universities. This essay tells the admission committee who you are, why you’re applying, why you’re a good candidate, and what you want to do in the future. Your professional goals, what you will do when becoming an alumni or Ph.D., and other numbers (GPA, test scores, etc.) are taken into consideration, but your essay is sometimes the deciding factor. Even top-rated universities, like MIT, Stanford, or Berkley, take essays into consideration when making their decision on whether to approve you.

What are the general conditions required for statement of interest? 

The statement of purpose (also known as a statement of interest) reflects your writing abilities and qualifications as well. In college and graduate school, you'll be doing a lot of writing. It's a common situation at universities, and it wasn't unusual for me to write papers over 10 pages weekly. So it's important to show that you're a truly competent writer. Some statement of purpose tips are:

  • It should be free of grammar, spelling, or other writing issues
  • The tone should be authoritative, concise, and clear
  • Be really concise and avoid repetition or clichés
  • Stick with formal language and a positive, confident writing tone.
  • The flow of ideas should be logical and appropriate

There are a variety of ways to format a statement of purpose, but the general format is similar to other academic writing. Use these as guidelines:

  • 1.5 line spacing
  • 1-in margins on all sides of your page
  • Use Times New Roman font in 12-point font size

If you want your writing to be easier to read and provide you with some additional explanation, it is best to follow this format. Unfortunately, you likely won't get bonus points for standing out with your visual formatting. Focusing on your content instead will give you a much better outcome.

Tips You Should FollowTips You Should Avoid
Properly format your writingUse a general format for essays
Use a proper font and sizeUse comic sans (casual font) and large/bold font size
Ensure perfect grammar and spellingUse complicated phrases and run-on sentences
Use formal languageUse informal or casual writing
Evenly-space the writingUse uneven spacing and visually pleasing imagery

Do I need to put my name in the heading of my statement of purpose? What about my contact information?

In general, you don't need to put your name on your statement of purpose (SOP). This is because your statement is a small part of your entire application, which should already have your name. However, certain schools have specific requirements, such as including your name in every document, which you should always follow.

How long should a statement of purpose be?

When it comes to writing a statement of purpose, you don't want to go over the top with length. Many students are unsure of how long their statement should be, but in general, a one-page statement is ideal. If needed you could write up to 1.5 pages, but nothing longer than this.

Generally, admissions officers are busy people and they have to read dozens of applications every day. So, you're going to need to be able to concisely and clearly state what you want to say in 1-1.5 pages. Anything longer than that will make you seem like you lack focus and clarity in your statement. Remove all unnecessary information, like descriptions of your grades—they can be found in your supporting documents.

When you're applying to college, it's important to check the school's website for information about the application process. In most cases, admissions offices will have information about how long your statement of purpose should be.

Tips to get you the best statement of purpose essay ever!

When it comes to writing a statement of purpose, it can be difficult to know what to include in each section and what strategies to take into account. The following five-paragraph essay format can help you address all the points admissions officers expect you to cover. Additionally, this section will provide some tips on how to write a statement of purpose that is both well-organized and engaging.

This chart will give you an overview of what you'll be writing:

Paragraph #Paragraph Topic
1st ParagraphIntroduction about yourself and your goals
2nd ParagraphDescribe why you're so passionate about applying to the program
3rd ParagraphDiscuss what makes you 'you'!
4th ParagraphYour experience/info about yourself
5th ParagraphConclusion

First paragraph: Introduce yourself and your career goals/professional objective

The first paragraph should be used to introduce yourself by describing your background and objective for your career or job. Always make sure your introduction relates to the coursework and programs you want to get into. If you want to talk about your love of kayaking when you’re applying to dental school, it’s important to make sure that you relate it back to specific aspects of the program. For example, if you’re applying to a school with a strong focus on dental research, you could talk about how your kayaking skills have helped you develop problem-solving skills that you can use in a dental research setting. Alternatively, if you’re applying to a school with a strong focus on patient care, you could talk about how your kayaking skills have helped you develop empathy and compassion for your patients. In any case, think carefully about the topic of relationships for your essay, as it can leave a strong impression on the admissions committee.

Make sure you do your research on the program and its coursework before you start writing your statement of purpose. Make sure that everything you write about is directly related to the specific details included in the program description. This will help you stay on track and focus on the requirements that are specific to your field of interest.

Second paragraph: Describe the reason you want to study

This paragraph should focus on the reason(s) for your choice of the study area. Students should focus on the reasons why they want to go to attend the program so that they can write a powerful statement of purpose. With your clearly outlined goal, you should explain why you are interested in it—what piques your interest about it more than other subjects? This is a good opportunity to explain why it's crucial for you to be admitted to the program. This should be clear, concise, and to the point—admissions officers don't want to read long verbose statements. Thus, a statement of purpose should tell why you connect with the specific field of study, and how it relates to your career success goals.

Giving really general reasons, like "I enjoy volunteering," doesn't help admissions officers understand you on an individual level. Many people give these reasons, so you need to look deeper and try to include them in your list of accomplishments. Why do you like helping people? How did you come to like helping people? Why do you want to learn in this specific program to help people? What is its relevance for your life? Why is graduate school the crucial place for your future? The more completely you understand your reasons, the better you'll be able to convince admissions officers you're the right choice. Concentrating on the reasons why you are the most appropriate person is the most essential part of writing personal statement essays. Whether you're submitting a college statement of purpose, grad school personal statement, or letter of intent, this is the chance for the graduate school to see what is important to you and how you took the opportunity to prove yourself.

Paragraphs 3 and 4: Explain why you are the BEST candidate for the program

The third paragraph is used to outline any experience you have in the area of study. If you're applying to study a particular field, it's important to include any experience you may have in that area. This can include jobs, internships, and any other projects you may have done. It gives the admissions committee a better idea of your personality and what you're interested in. If you're having trouble thinking of any applicable experience, try talking to some friends or family who know you well.

When you're writing your statement of interest, it's important to look back at your background and career goals to get a sense of what you want to accomplish. That way, you can talk about any related experience you have. The more direct the experience, the better. If you don't have direct experience, choose the most closely related experience if possible. Be sure to reference how the program and your experience are related. This will show that you're a great fit and understand the program. The admissions committee is seeking applicants who share the school’s values and culture.

Next, talk about any other experiences you’ve had that have helped you decide on your specific area of study or prepare for graduate studies in general. Maybe you read a book that made you interested in literature or did some volunteer work that made you love economics. However, keep your statement brief – your statement of purpose is not the place for long narratives.

If there's anything else you think the admissions officer should know about you, go ahead and mention it here. Just make sure to emphasize why it's important that they know this information. Is there something about your experience or background that makes you uniquely suited for this program? If so, make sure to point that out in a precise and focused way.

Last paragraph: Concluding paragraph about your future goals

Here are some tips from our professional team of EditMyPaper on writing your statement of purpose. In the final paragraph, be sure to briefly describe your long-term career goals and motivations. Like all parts of your essay, it should be specific and abundantly clear for your reader. This goal is slightly different from the first paragraph's goal where you discussed what you want to achieve now. The concluding paragraph discusses your future-thinking goals. E.g., where do you want to be in your field a few years from now? You could discuss how this degree program would allow you to move up the ladder in your job to become a company director. This section will tell the committee about how serious you are about achieving your professional goals. 

Now it's time to talk about your future. Admissions officers and universities want to know that you have a clear vision for your future and how you plan to use the program to grow and contribute to your field. Why would they want to admit a student that doesn't have a clear vision? It doesn't make sense for a student without a clear goal to be chosen over a student who does. So make sure to outline your future goals and how the program will help you reach them.

Professional editors are now available to fix and improve any application essay or supporting document. We have medical school, law school, and business school experts, as well as previous admission officers ready to ensure you craft an unforgettable statement to make you the perfect candidate!

Review sample statements of purpose and learn how an expert editor is all you need to write a powerful essay.

Now that you understand the statement of purpose format, it's time to get started on yours! If you're ready, you can start writing right away. Unsure what this format looks like in action? Be sure to read some statement of purpose examples.

Reading sample essays can show you how the writer effectively followed the format for a strong statement of purpose. Notice whether the writer was clear in their statement of purpose and what you might do differently when you write your own. Make sure to take notes while you read and use them as a reference. This will definitely help you!

Graduate school is a huge step forward in your education! Make sure you take the time to focus on your goals and what you want to get out of the experience. The admissions officers want to see that you are clear about your reasons for pursuing graduate school.

Writing and editing can be really complicated, but with the right strategies, it's totally doable! This statement of purpose format can help you get started, but there's so much more to it than just that. Picking the right verb for a sentence is a real art, and you also need to be clear and punchy without being too wordy. Good writing is all about clear thinking and using interesting vocabulary. When you only have one page to convince someone to believe in your future, you'll want to make sure your writing is on point!

Are you worried about writing the best statement of purpose possible? Don't be! Your willingness and awareness can help you create an amazing essay, even if you don't refer to statement of intent examples. However, when it comes to something as important as a statement of purpose, having your essay well-edited can make all the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection letter. Keep in mind that if you get rejected from the school you want, you may have to wait months or even up to a year before you can reapply. If you're looking for an edge, consider hiring a professional editor who has expertise in your field of interest. We only match the most appropriate editor with the document you need to be edited. Working on a medical school personal statement? We'll ensure your essay gets to an application editor for medical school. In the grand scheme of things, a professional essay editor is cost-efficient. Most textbooks cost more than an editor's services.

The team of our top-notch editors has prepared amazing statement of purpose essays for your colleagues. We'd be glad to work on yours with you too! Our admissions editing service uses the knowledge gained from writing previously accepted applicants for universities like Princeton or Harvard.

A Perfect Statement of Purpose checklist:

  • Clear and concise ideas
  • Free from grammar issues
  • All language is used appropriately
  • No typos or incorrect wording
  • The text grabs your reader's attention
  • Use one paragraph per idea
  • The entire essay flows nicely
  • The vocabulary is professional/academic
  • The editor fixed and approved the essay

Frequently Asked Questions (Application Essays)

1- Can you also edit my college enrollment application essays, or does the service only focus on graduate applications?

Our editors are skilled in editing all types of essays, so your college application essay will be in good hands.

2- Does Edit My Paper also provide editing for papers other than admission essays?

Our professional editing team is highly respected in the editing world. We offer academic editing services to help you make the most of your editing needs. Come back and see us soon for more editing options!

3- Do I need to write my name on my statement of purpose?

Since your name is already attached to your application, there's no need for you to write it again. However, this doesn't mean that your institution may not require it, so always double-check your requirements!

4- Should I put a title on my statement of purpose?

Unless required by your educational institution, there's no need to write a title.

5- What's the minimum word count for a graduate school statement of purpose?

The general minimum is 500 words for a graduate school SOP.

6- What's the maximum word count for a graduate school statement of purpose?

The general maximum is 1000 words for a graduate school SOP.

7- What's the average word count for a graduate school statement of purpose?

The general minimum is 750 words for a graduate school SOP.

8- How long should a grad school statement of purpose be?

It should generally be between 500 and 1000 words, not more.

9- What should I focus on in my statement of purpose (SOP)?

Only include relevant information that is connected to your thesis. Avoid facts that do not contain important information or filler words/phrases.

10 - How much time will it take to write a purpose statement for graduate school?

It will generally take between 15 to 60 minutes, depending on how long you write. If you follow our format guide in this document, it should take around 40 minutes to write an amazing statement, and it can be edited in 90 minutes to make it even better!

11- What font size and style should I use for my grad school statement of purpose?

We recommend Times New Roman and size 12 font.